The Twins have played 17 of their last 20 contests on the road and have managed to go 12-5 in those games, boosting them into sole possession of first-place in the AL Central with a ton of home games to be played.
Of the final 47 games, 29 of them will be at Target Field which is music to the ears. Yes the Twins have excelled on their recent road trips, but there’s no denying that the team is glad to be back home for awhile.
They have shown tremendous grit and resiliency on the road, most notably in their trips to Tampa Bay and Chicago. After winning eight straight against the likes of Kansas City, Baltimore and Seattle, the Twins were rudely awakened with two quick losses in Tampa Bay. The doubters surfaced, including myself, but the Twins fired back, winning the final two games of the series and then taking two of three in Chicago.
The team could have caved in at any time with the rash of injuries and the extended time on the road, but that was not the case.
The hard work has paid off as the team is now 15 games over .500 (65-50), the most they’ve been all season and they get rewarded with a string of nine consecutive home games starting tonight. The outlook looks even grander with Justin Morneau nearing a return and the Twins pitching being back at Target Field, where they no doubt pitch better.
Carl Pavano (14-7, 3.28) will get the homestand started for the Twins, opposite the A’s Gio Gonzalez (10-7, 3.51).
Let’s take a look at some numbers as the Twins get ready to battle Oakland:
1.08: Carl Pavano’s WHIP this season, the lowest it’s been since 2004.
.579: Slugging percentage for Twins DH Jim Thome this season, second on the team to Justin Morneau’s .618 percentage.
.435: Joe Mauer’s batting average since the All-Star break, including a AL-leading 14 doubles. He is also second since the break with 27 RBI.
42: Hits since the All-Star break for Delmon Young, best in the AL. He’s batting .353 with 10 doubles, four home runs and 26 RBI, even though he’s been a bit cold over the last week.
11: Combined home runs for Jason Kubel and Thome since the break, talk about picking up the slack from the loss of Morneau. Kubel also has 24 RBI, third on the team behind Mauer and Young and leads the team with 20 runs scored since the break. He also has four home runs in his last six games and has a .305 batting average over his past 16.
9: Strikeouts for Twins closer Matt Capps in just seven innings of work since putting on a Twins uni. He is two for three in save opportunities and has given up just five hits and one run. So far, so good.
36: Home runs for the Blue Jay’s Jose Bautista, where did this guy come from?
33: Wins at Target Field for the Twins (33-20). They are 32-30 away, but hey, at least they have a winning record on the road now.
11: Wins for Twins top pitching prospect Kyle Gibson in 2010. He was promoted to the AAA Rochester Red Wings on Thursday, so he’s just one step away from the big leagues now.
17: Home runs for Jason Kubel in 2010, just one away from tying Justin Morneau for the team lead. He also has 73 RBI
571: Runs scored by the Twins this season, tied for third most in the all of baseball with Tampa Bay, trailing only the Yankees and Red Sox.
5: Times I replayed Jose Mijares’ spill while trying to cover first base on Wednesday night in Chicago. It was all fun and games until I found out that he will need surgery and will miss four weeks because of it. But seriously, get in shape and stay in shape my man.
3: Times J.J. Hardy has had to miss time because of his ailing wrist this season, twice he was placed on the DL. Let’s hope he can get back on the field sooner than later with this latest episode. Hardy has been a disappointment this season largely because of his inability to stay healthy and his lack of power, which was supposed to be one of his better attributes.
20: Wins the Minnesota Timberwolves will finish with in 2010-11. They only won 15 last season, so it’s an improvement…
9: Wins for Pavano in his last 12 starts. He is 9-1 with a 2.62 ERA during that span.
1.64: ERA for Oakland starters over their last nine games. The A’s don’t score much (4.1 runs a games), but they pitch pretty well.